New Volcanic Futures

Resilience and Taranaki Agriculture Futures

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Over recent years Aotearoa-New Zealand’s agriculture sector has been subject to quite significant change pressures, and this is likely to continue into the foreseeable future. Regional Councils have been heavily involved with implementing freshwater policy initiatives in line with the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, often with significant implications for landowners, industry groups and downstream processors. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture is now at the forefront of the policy agenda, with for example the He Waka Eke Noa initiative. In the future, climate change is also likely to create new challenges and potentially opportunities for farmers. On top of this, the sector is in any case inherently dynamic, needing to respond to constantly evolving consumer demands and preferences, commodity prices and technologies.

Within this programme of work, we will be investigating the relationship between resilience to Taranaki volcanic events and potential land use and system change that may occur on Taranaki farms. We hope to discover whether there are resilience co-benefits, or potentially maladaptions, associated with options farmers may be considering, and vice versa. We seek to promote and integrate resilience thinking within wider decision-making, and at different decision-making scales.

The project is a collaborative effort and will involve integrating models and expertise in volcanic event simulation, disaster risk reduction and hazard impact analysis, farm system modelling, applied economics and integrated assessment. We will develop an analytical tool that will simulate across many different volcanic outcomes that may occur, and many different decision-making pathways that may be followed. We will also be drawing on methodologies from the emerging space of Decision Making Under Uncertainty to collate, make sense of and communicate the various uncertainties that confront decision makers in the agriculture sector.

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